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[SPA] Basque Chorizo

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 18:02
by NorCal Kid
After having made several successful batches of traditional Polish kielbasa (my wife`s family are Polish), I decided to investigate some sausage recipes that would reflect MY own Basque heritage.

I have made a number of `Basque-style` dishes before, but never looked into the `tube-meats.` However, that was to change. Last weekend while at Lake Tahoe, a friend who knew I was making sausages at home, asked me if I made any `Basque` sausages yet. I naively told him I wasn`t aware of any particularly `basque-style` sausage.
So we wander into a local butcher shop to pick up some nice steaks and I see a magazine in a rack ("Edible Reno-Tahoe") with a cover depicting...(what else?)...Basque chorizo! Produced locally at a Basque deli in Carson City, Nevada.

Cover of the magazine I have showing a batch of Basque chorizo:

A trip to that deli ensued & I met one of the Basque employees there. I sampled the chorizo. Great stuff-not surprisingly, it is much closer to the fresh Spanish-style versus the Mexican chorizo: peppery, garlicky; some were sweet while others quite hot(!). We spoke for a while and he shared with me the list of ingredients used in this popular chorizo. They crank out over 200lbs of this stuff weekly. Some of the ingredients may be hard to get, I was told, but if I was serious about making it `authentic,' and the REAL DEAL, it was worth the effort.

Once I had my ingredients list, I was off & running.

Pork & beef mixture.
Here's 5 pounds of pork butt and 1 pound of beef chuck, well-chilled (near-frozen) & ready to grind:

Other key ingredients included:

Espelette pepper (Basque: Ezpeletako biperra) - "the beloved chile pepper of the Basque country." A variety of pepper that is cultivated & dried traditionally in the northern territory of the Basque people. Flakey ground dry red pepper; Mildly sweet at first taste with a bit of a kick afterwards.

Choricero red pepper -a red pepper utilized in cooking and making of sausages like chorizo. The `pimiento choricero` is typically sold dried. To use it, it must be rehydrated over the course of a few hours, and then the flesh is scraped out. It is also sold in glass jars as a paste. Finding dry choriceros was next to impossible, but I did locate jars of the `paste.`

Here's the rest of the ingredients. I acquired some nice Sweet Spanish paprika (preferred) but a good Hungarian sweet would do just as well, I was told. Fresh Garlic, Red wine, Black pepper (tellicherry variety preferred), Kosher salt, Sugar, Pinch of nutmeg or allspice `to taste` and Cure#1 (if smoking- which I plan to, although the cure is not pictured below:

Added all the ingredients to the ground meat (4.5mm plate), including the pink Cure#1:

All mixed & ready to go:

I'm letting this sit overnight. I did fry up a small piece to test the overall flavor. It needed a bit more salt & a touch more sugar to offset the bit of paprika 'bitterness', but the flavor I was after ('red-peppery, garlicky, bit of heat') was pretty much there. The smoking will, I believe, only enhance the final product.

Next Day:

5:00am.....Got an early start this morning and began the stuffing process. Using 30-32mm natural pork casings.
Six pounds ready for the smoker:

6:45am: Managed to dangle the load over two dowels, trying to keeping 'touching' to a minimum. I couldn't find any more dowels as they've mysteriously wandered off-so I made do with the two.No smoke for the first hour-just 130° temp to dry them a bit...

Used my A-maze-n smoker with 2.5 lanes of maple dust. I wanted something 'light' so as not to overwhelm the sausage flavor. Kind of silly of me, really, considering all the spices in the chorizo...

10:00 am After two hours of smoke, took a peek...

3:30pm - I finally hit the desired IT after 7.5 hours so its time to pull the chorizo....

Bloom time. I had some weird twist and 'curls' on some due to my chorizo-wrangling on the dowels. The color came out nice-that dark, rich mahogany red.
They''ll cool & bloom here for about an hour...

Sample time!
Although they turned out not as spicy as the samples I had in Carson City, this is still a very tasty chorizo. Nothing like the Mexican variety.
Plenty of garlic with a strong 'red peppery' bite. NOT hot-which I was concerned about using the espelette pepper for the first time. More importantly, my wife and boys really liked it.

It would go great with eggs, or in a good paella. Heck I might even get some good crusty bread & make a tasty sandwich with some!


Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 20:04
They look great! Thank you for sharing.

Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 00:48
by crustyo44
These chorizo look wonderful, the only alterations I would make is changing to Sweet Hungarian Paprika and boiling your finely chopped garlic.
I will certainly have a go at these before Xmas.
Thank your sharing this recipe.

Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 02:06
by Bubba
Kevin, going by the ingredients and your photos this Chorizo looks very delicious and something that I have been looking for some time now.
A while back I read up on Chorizo sausage, and the varieties available is astounding.
Some years back I was traveling through Europe and had some very good Spanish Chorizo, then again on a trip through Mexico (Toluca area), I also got to try some from a home sausage maker and that was very different to what we can buy here, also very good.

I'll give this recipe a try as well, getting the ingredients you have may be a bit of a challenge around here, but I will try or substitute.

Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 03:04
by Chuckwagon
Kevin you've outdone yourself this time. Way to go pal! Hey, I did a double-take on the magazine cover. That cowboy is not only wearin' chaps, he's got a great sheepdog too. So, it's only natural that he must know something about the sausage he's holding! :roll: Right?
That's mighty fine lookin' sausage you've made there buckaroo! Did you finally get your smoker's temp problems under control? Did you use the hot-water bath on them? Nice goin' pard and thanks for posting your findings.
Kevin, would you mind very much if I interject a bit of hard-earned saddlebum scientific savvy here? Dr. Lynn Knipe of the Meat Research Center at the Iowa State University has written articles pertaining to the proteins and exudates of meat. One of his best describes the "unraveling" of proteins. Without going into full detail, would you allow me to point out that the addition of wine in the meat mixture all at once, may indeed be compared to the addition of oil to eggs while crafting mayonnaise? If the oil is added too quickly, it will "break" the emulsion and the texture will suffer. The same concept applies when adding wine to meat in which the actomyocin has been partially or fully developed. If added all at once, it will denature the proteins like crazy!
If I may make a suggestion, place the wine into an atomizer and spray it into the mixture as you begin to develop the myocin proteins mechanically. In other words, add it more gradually by spraying it.
Actin and myosin belong to the contractile proteins of the myofibrils in meat musculature. The protein actin accounts for only about 20 percent of muscle protein. Myosin filaments represent about 40% of muscular proteins. As a result of association with actin, myosin forms actomyosin - responsible for muscular contraction in live animals. When mechanically agitated in comminuted meat, actomyosin proteins produce a sticky mass - an essential feature in good sausage.
You may also wish to try another ol` timer`s trick. Most of the real pros that I know, bake their garlic before adding it to the mixture. The most popular proportion is 80% pre-baked with 20% raw crushed garlic. Baking it is easy. Just wrap entire "head" of garlic in foil and pop them into a 335°F oven until the garlic becomes pliable enough to be squeezed out of their paper cloves. This takes the raw bitter edge off the stuff and tastes wonderful in sausage.
Why not give these two tricks a try when you make your next batch and then compare the results. I think you`ll taste and see a difference. Just my two cents worth ol` pard.

Best Wishes,

Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 05:38
by vagreys
Bubba wrote:...I'll give this recipe a try as well, getting the ingredients you have may be a bit of a challenge around here, but I will try or substitute.
You can get the Piment d'Espelette on-line from The Spanish Table

You can get the Carne de Pimiento Choricero on-line from La Española Meats

Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 15:23
by NorCal Kid
Thanks for the nice comments, everyone.

As Vagreys mentioned, you can find some of these 'Spanish ' or 'Basque' ingredients online.
Most places were out of the Choricero dry peppers, however.

CW- thanks for the atomizer tip. I'll give it a try next time a recipe calls for the addition of alcohol. In previous batches, I was less then thrilled with the outcome, so maybe this will resolve the problem.

With this batch, I didnt use the water-bath method. Just seven & a half hours in the smoker (3 hours of smoke) until they reached the desired IT (internal temp). And, no, unfortunately my temp regulating issues still exist on my gas smoker requiring me to babysit the beast for the duration of the cook. Pain in the ipurmasailean! I've been meaning to resolve the problem (per the helpful suggestions I've received here), but havent been able to do so. On my 'To-Do' list though!

Next time I make this, I will cook/bake the garlic a bit to mellow the 'rawness' a bit and develop some of the natural sweetness from the cloves. And add a touch more of the espelette pepper to fire things up a notch!

But overall, I'm pleased that this first-time attempt was so well received by the family.


Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 15:34
by NorCal Kid
If anyone is interested, here's the proportions I used as I attempted to match the version I had in Carson city. For a guideline, I used some of the amounts listed in Bruce Aidell's "Complete Sausage Book" but since some of the ingredients in THIS version were a bit different or weren't in Bruce's recipe, I adjusted accordingly.

Country Basque Chorizo
makes six pounds

5 lbs. pork butt/shoulder
1.0 lb. beef chuck
1/2 Cup (126g) Sweet Spanish paprika (or Hungarian)
1/2 Cup (128g) Choricero Pepper puree
1 Tbl (10g) Espelette Pepper powder (more for added heat)
1 Cup fresh minced garlic
6 Tbsp dry red wine
20g sugar
44g kosher salt
11g coarsely ground black pepper (tellacherry preferred)
Pinch of ground clove or allspice
1&1/4 tsp Cure#1 (pink salt, dissolved in 1/4 cup water)
30-32mm hog casings

Grind pork and beef through a 3/8" plate. Combine ground meat with all ingredients.
Let stand overnight in refrigerator.

Stuff the next day. Hang links to dry at room temperature for one hour (or hang in smoker @120° with no smoke for 45-60 minutes) until exterior is dry to touch). Add smoke. Well-seasoned sausage can take hardier-flavored woods so use personal preference.
After sausage has dried, increase the heat to 130-140 degrees F, and apply 2-3 hours of smoke. Continue raising temp over the course of the next 4-6 hours (top out @170°) until the desired IT (160°) is reached. Plunk `em in ice-bath & let them bloom for a hour or so before refrigerating. Refrigerate or freeze for longer storage.

That's pretty much it. Next time I'll add more of the espelette powder for more kick.'


Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 09:10
by Chuckwagon
Topic Split by Chuckwagon 11.18.11 @ 01:10
See: Effects Of Added Alcohol In Sausage in Technology forum.
Link here: